There have been some incredible highlights over the years, so we’ve assembled a list of our top 10 fights of the past decade to whet your appetite for the fantastic boxing events that we have coming up in the future.
A decade of fantastic fights was kicked off in style as undefeated WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch made his way to the MCH Messecenter stadium in Herning, Denmark to take on Danish warrior Mikkel Kessler. Fighting on home soil, Kessler started off the bout as the far busier fighter, throwing more combination punches and seeming to outbox his opponent. Froch roared back in the latter stages and after a hotly contested 12 rounds, Kessler was awarded the victory by unanimous decision. Rarely are boxing match-ups so closely competitive and all those who made the journey to Denmark were treated to one of the most exciting bouts in recent memory.
2012 was an incredible year for British sports, having played host to a magnificent Olympic games. British boxing found itself in the spotlight when arch-rivals David Haye and Dereck Chisora faced off in front of a home crowd of 30,000 at London’s Boleyn Ground. The fans came expecting a brawl, and the fighters duly delivered. Haye took the attacking initiative first and frustrated Chisora’s efforts, provoking Chisora to land a vicious left hook after the bell had already rang for the end of the third round. The foul only fired-up Haye and he came out swinging, eventually knocking Chisora down multiple times and being awarded a TKO stoppage victory in the fifth round.
A packed Home Depot Center in Carson, California was the host of 2013’s Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America “Fight of the Year”. With the WBO Welterweight Championship on the line Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov engaged in a gruelling 12-round battle of wills. The action was back and forth throughout the fight as the two competitors stood toe-to-toe, and despite being knocked down in the second and twelfth rounds Bradley was awarded the victory on the judges’ scorecards and a classic fight entered into the history books.
Terrence Crawford made the first defence of his WBO lightweight title at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska – his home town. With his opponent being Cuban Olympic gold medallist and former unified featherweight champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa, boxing fans knew that this would be an explosive fight. Gamboa took the upper hand in the opening rounds, getting the better of Crawford with his lightning hand speed, but Crawford refused to be beaten and adjusted his style. Crawford knocked Gamboa down in the fifth round, again in the eighth, and finally twice in the ninth to secure a TKO win in front of 10,943 screaming hometown fanatics and scores of incredibly lucky international supporters who had managed to secure one of the hottest tickets in boxing.
It’s difficult to think of a fight of fight that was surrounded by more hype and anticipation than 2015’s Floyd Mayweather Jr versus Manny Pacquiao. Fighting for the unified welterweight championship at the MGM Grand in the home of high profile boxing – Las Vegas, sporting events don’t get much bigger than this. Billed as “The Fight of the Century” in the build-up many critics were disappointed by the bout, citing Mayweather’s defensive strategy, which almost completely nullified Pacquiao’s attack, as the main reason. Regardless of the criticism, the fight grossed over $600 million and the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mariah Carey, and a host of other famous faces were in attendance at the sold-out event.
Carson, California was once again the host of an unbelievable display of boxing prowess as WBC Super Featherweight champion Francisco Vargas defended his title against fellow Mexican Orlando Salido at the StubHub Center. Boxing fans all over the world clamoured for tickets as both fighters were known for featuring in action-packed shootouts – and they did not disappoint. This gruelling 12-round slugfest was brutal, with both men landing multiple damaging shots and an absolutely huge 2,123 punches being thrown in total. The Mexican warriors battled to a draw in what was unanimously voted as the 2016 “Fight of the Year” by the boxing press.
The 2017 “Fight of the Year” took place in front of a record breaking 90,000 strong crowd at London’s Wembley Stadium. British Olympic hero and IBF heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua went toe to toe with Ukrainian icon and former heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko. The fight was a masterclass of heavyweight boxing with ferocious punches being landed and the momentum of the bout swinging backwards and forwards between the two goliaths. Both men scored knockdowns and the fight hung in the balance until Joshua stung Klitschko with a sledgehammer of an uppercut and a left hook that persuaded the referee to end the fight in the 11th round.
The hotly anticipated rematch between the top-two pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, was one of several incredible bouts in 2017. With the unified light-heavyweight championship on the line, boxing fans were desperate to secure seats at the sold out Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The fight was electrifying and both men poured everything that they had into the bout. Ward landed a stinging right hand in the 8th round, followed by a crushing series of body blows that left Kovalev slumped over the ropes, earning Ward a TKO stoppage victory.
In the second rematch to make our list, Ring Magazine’s 2018 “Fight of the Year” featured Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin running back the clock on their scintillating draw that had taken place a year previously. Taking place in front of a sell-out crowd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the world’s two best middleweights fought tooth and nail to claim a victory. Both boxers found their range early and big punches were landed throughout the bout. Each man could easily have been knocked out, but they somehow battled through all 12-rounds. The judges awarded the fight to Alvarez and boxing fans everywhere will be hoping we get to see a third fight in the future.
Former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury completed his miraculous return to the top of the sport by facing off against Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight belt at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The fight was an incredible match up of styles with Wilder’s power punching coming up against the unorthodox movement of Fury. Fury masterfully avoided the worst of Wilder’s power until the final round when Wilder threw a right-left combination that dropped Fury hard onto the canvass. Almost everyone in the arena, including Deontay Wilder, thought that the fight was over - but Fury miraculously rose from the ground in one of the most iconic sporting moments of the decade and continued to fight his way to a draw.
Nothing compares to the spectacle of seeing a live boxing match - don’t miss out on attending all of the biggest fights in the next decade; call our sports Travel Specialists 01244 355604 or click here today to book your ATOL-protected boxing holiday.